Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Private Cellar

Overall taste impression was "sweet spiced rum" meets "freshly plowed garden."

Overall taste impression was “sweet spiced rum” meets “freshly plowed garden.”Think of the big names in today’s cigar industry. Odds are, Rocky Patel immediately came to mind — and for good reason. Cigars released under his name are a staple of good construction, delightful flavor and variety in tobaccos and price points.

Sometimes, RP cigars are a hit. Sometimes, there’s a miss … and the Private Cellar falls closer to the latter category, than the former. Here’s why.

  • The cigar — in my case, a torpedo, 6-1/8 by 52 — consists of a solid blend of tobacco. RP’s standard vendor claim is that: “This is a medium to full bodied cigar which is made using a broadleaf wrapper from Connecticut with the fillers and binder from some of the most prestigious growing regions of Nicaragua. When you first light this cigar your palate is filled with a rich sweet flavor that transitions into full notes of sweet spice, dark chocolate, espresso bean and a hint of earthiness. The finish is long and smooth while maintain complexity all the way to the end.”
  • Despite the self-supplied acclaim, the cigar didn’t present with much complexity. Earthy spice? Check. Sweetness and dark chocolate? Nope. It was relatively difficult to isolate specific flavors with this cigar, because there was a distracting tinge of sour around the finish. I had to sip diet Coke to wash it away — went through two cans while I smoked this at Grand River Cigar.  Overall taste impression was “sweet spiced rum” meets “freshly plowed garden.”
  • Cigar Inspector suggests that these sticks are a bit spongier than their siblings, leading to a faster burn. I don’t agree; mine was, if anything, a bit too firm — all the sticks in the box felt like bricks, and the draw was consistently tight even with a generous straight cut. That said, the variation between my experience, and the CI experience, is suggestive.

I’ve always enjoyed Rocky Patel cigars. And, in fairness, I enjoyed this one, too — just wasn’t top of the RP food chain.

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About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.